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Make the new school year a safe one

February 13, 2006

North Shore City Council is urging parents and motorists to make the new school year a safe one.

"It's a good time to remind people to take extra care on the roads, and also for parents to consider the alternatives to using their cars for the trip to school," says deputy chairperson of the council's infrastructure and environment committee, Chris Darby.

To coincide with the return to school the 'Slow Down, Children Around' message is featuring on billboards and on bus shelters in North Shore City and throughout Auckland.

The campaign has been organised by Roadsafe Auckland - a regionwide road safety group, whose members include North Shore City Council, and Auckland's other local authorities.

Meanwhile, the police are running their own initiative nationwide to reduce speed around schools, and will ticket drivers exceeding the speed limit by even 5kph.

Each year more than 100 school-aged pedestrians are killed or injured on Auckland roads, and two thirds of these injuries occur before or after school times. The risk of death to pedestrians relative to vehicle speed rises from 10 per cent at 30 kph to about 40 per cent at 50kph, and 85 per cent at 64 kph.

Councillor Darby says parents can help reduce the number of cars on the road and the resulting 'chaos at the school gate' by making use of a Walking School Bus.

There are now 62 Walking School Buses operating in North Shore City, involving 1000 children and 300 parents.

"This is a safe, non-polluting alternative to driving children to school which is good for the environment, benefits the health and fitness of the child, and teaches them good road sense," says Councillor Darby.

"The council is actively promoting this excellent initiative and our parksafe officers are out in force to ensure the roads around our schools are kept safe."

Motorists should also take special care when leaving their driveways and be on the lookout for pedestrians on the footpaths, he says.

The council is also enhancing safety in and around many of the city's schools with improved footpaths and crossings, as part of its Travelwise programme.

More information about Walking School Buses and road safety is available on the council's website at www.northshorecity.govt.nz

ENDS


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